MAY 01 Camp Happenings -- PT I
02 MAY 03 / 1015 hours
"OP West -- hold your fire! You, with the cycle, identify yourself...
Robbo spoke quietly to himself "...my god, someone in command, finally!" and then yelled back to the hummer "Cpl Robinson, E coy, 1/110 Mech Inf"
Muttering to himself again "and that's all I'm yelling to the whole of the world! They can let me in, or come out here and talk to me."
[guy on bullhorn]
"OK, everyone! Tone it down a coupla notches. CPL Robinson, push your rifle away from you, butt first, and don't make any sudden moves.
The man, dressed in a one-piece flight suit, with SGT's chevrons on his sleeves, approached Robbo, while the dude on the M60 covered them both. The SGT, noticing the documents pouch handcuffed to Robbo's wrist, spoke up. "I suppose that's the Package, then?, Very good. Now would you have some ID..."
Again, Robbo complied and gestured with his chin to the bib pocket in his camo coveralls. The SGT reached in, and gingerly removed a little billfold, which contained Robbo's ID. The SGT studied the papers, looked Robbo over abit, and was satisfied. He returned the papers to Robbo, as he extended his hand..
"Welcome to the 3/103rd, CPL. The Colonel will want to see you immediately. Does that run on alcohol?"
"Sarge, what else is there to run it on around these parts?"
Hearing Robbo's response, he snapped his fingers, gestured to Robbo's inert motorcycle, and the guy on the M60 got out of the vehicle, took a jerrycan over to the bike, and filled it up.
"Follow us in, and I'll introduce you to the Colonel."
The driver gunned the engine, and the SGT made a sour look, as he was trying to speak on the radio. The SGT reached over and cuffed the driver on the back of the head, again spoke into the mouthpiece. The HUMMER sped off, down RT 45, turned in front of a burned out school onto RT 15, and headed south. Shortly, the little convoy reached it's destination.
01 MAY 03 / 1020 hours
The HUMMER led Robbo, aboard his cycle, up to the guard post, thru the multiple rings of wire, and into the camp. There were no permanent structures visible. Numerous tents were there, a few trailers or vans served as makeshift sheds, and a few trenches or blockhouses here and there. Native Aussie or not, Robbo heaved a slight sigh of relief, when he saw the Stars and Stripes flapping in the breeze. Many more tents and shacks were downhill to the east, and downhill to the south was a barn and a few more vehicles. Just as a rough estimate, Robbo would say this camp and the small cluster of shacks down the hill to the east were home to no more than 125 people. And only about 15-20 of the able-bodied males were in uniform...
01 MAY 03 / 1025 hours
There was a cannon there, more or less near the flagpole. It wasn't just decorative, from the looks of it. A sooty-faced man with SGTs stripes sewn on one sleeve of a jean jacket was cursing to himself as he tried to manhandle the piece around using a staff. Finally, a few others helped him. He barked a command, and the group snapped to, each person doing a particular job, in a drill fashion. The piece was made ready, and the SGT aimed at something to the west. A jerk at the lanyard, and the gun discharged loudly. A few seconds later, something impacted a half a mile away. The SGT looked thru binoculars, and smiled like a kid in a toyshop. The SGT straightened, and nodded to Robbo, as he idled past, still following the HUMMER.
Finally, the HUMMER stopped outside one of the larger tents. The SGT got out, and motioned Robbo to dismount. A large man, with shaven head and Fu Manchu moustache, guarded the entrance to this tent, which from the nearby sign was:
HQ, 3/103rd Armored, 28th DIV USARMY. Another, more informal sign read, "The SWAMP"...
Thought to himself, "~Someone's got a BAD sense of humour round here!~"
The large man at the door was dressed in a black martial arts gi, and had an MP5K battleslung across his broad chest. The look on this man's face was one of, "try anything, and it'll be fun snapping your neck."
Robbo smiled his cockiest grin, and said "Guday, mate" in his worst Crocodile Dundee accent, and watched the guy's face contort into a look of confusion.
The SGT, who Robbo now assumed was named APPLEBY, (or at least he wore APPLEBY's flight suit), motioned Robbo inside.
Sitting at a makeshift table was a man in his mid-40's(maybe older...), silvery hair, weathered skin. He was dressed in jeans, a black T shirt, and a well-worn leather duster. The only things military about him were his close cropped hair, and the silver leaf on the green fatigue cap he wore.
"At ease, Robinson. Have a seat, CPL. Relax. We're very informal here. I'm COL Nathan Stryfe. I'd like for us to be on a first name basis. I'll call you Robbo, and you can call me Colonel." He laughed slightly.
~An orificer with a sense of humor! Not...~
"I'm glad you made it. I guess you were luckier than the rest of your group. I will have someone send word back to the Panthers that you've arrived. I must compliment you on arriving on schedule, despite the difficulty of your assignment." Stryfe produced a key, identicle to the one Robbo had hidden away somewhere on his person. "So, could I..." With this, he gestured to the documents bag, handcuffed to Robbo's wrist.
"Tell me a little more of your journey. Any bits and pieces for our Intel officers would be most useful."
(Then after Robbo recounted anything interesting/important)
Stryfe goes over Robbo's papers, and has before him a series of what looks to be service records. Robbo saw that several men in his team, those unfortunate enough not to be sitting here, were among the records. Stryfe filed through these, and pulled Robbo's information out of the stack.
"Well, I'll be right up front with you, CPL. It would be a senseless waste of your young life, and many talents, to have you die on some trail heading back to Western PA. I am certain the Panthers would rather see you under my command, and alive, as opposed to dead in the middle of nowhere. Consider yourself on permanent attached duty to the 3/103rd. When such time arrives as you can be returned to your original unit, your assignment will be changed. Your status with the 3/103rd will be reported to the 1/110th, so that they don't consider you AWOL."
~that's far from my biggest worry these days!~
"I'm assigning you to the HQ section. You'll be directly under my command. We have a radioman, he was a civilian until only recently, very bright, Hell, he built our radio mostly from scratch, just by looking at a coupla books. But, frankly, he has very little idea of what radio procedures and protocol are....
Robbo thought about that with a small smile on his face. ~Do any Americans?~
"... He is PVT Mike Wu. Look him up. Make friends with him. Train him. Get him up to speed on what he really needs to know."
"For now, you'll bunk with PVT Wu in the Commo Tent. Probably you'll meet SGT Berger, who also hangs out with Wu. They were pre-war buddies from way back. Berger's not really military, either, but he has a way of getting things done. Buddy up to him. Teach him what he needs to know, both from a US perspective, as well as from an Australian perspective. And I'll probably have something interesting for you later in the week."
Robbo gave him a look. ~Just great, thats how I got here!~
"Other than that, there's Assembly at 0800, and meals at 0700, 1200, and 1700. We've had some trouble with infiltrators, of late. Anyone outside the wire after dark is to be shot on sight, no questions asked. Is that clear?..."
"Clear as, Sir..."
"That should about do it. Get settled in. Make some friends. We live pretty close together, in pretty primative conditions here, so respect is the word we drum into everyone. Get some rest. And, Oh, see SGT Berger, he's the QM here. Get some friggin' soap, and take a bath..."
"My Pleasure! Sir..."
Stryfe bit back a smile, and saluted.
Robbo stood, Saluted, and marched himself out. He continued marching for a good 3 paces outside the door, then broke into an ambling stride.
Looking round the parade ground, Robbo noticed the thudding of the Generator, and the large antenna above the tent next to it. "that must be the commo tent" Robbo muttered to himself.
Walking back to his bike, he pushed it over to the side of the commo tent next to the generator, grabbed his pack off the bike, and wandered into the commo tent, announcing as he did, "ok, where do I stash my gear, and where are the showers?"
A 30-ish Oriental man with a thin moustache and long, dark hair was on the set. A cigarette dangled loosely from his lips. The radio gear looked like something out of an old 1930's horror movie, lots of tubes, big glowing dials, and other components that hummed.
The man took off the headset, rose, crushed out the ciggie lazily, and saluted. "I'm Mike Wu." He stretched out his hand, and pumped Robbo's arm like a politician looking for votes. He gestured to the "radio" behind him.
"Well, it's not much, but it's what we got. Not much on looks, but it has the range some of our other stuff doesn't have. Guess I'll give you the rundown on what we have..."
Gesturing to the PRC-77 (5/25km manpack/vehicular radio), "MAJ von Fischer brought us this little honey. It's about as high tech as it gets around here. Reb has 2- AN/PRC-68 radios(2km hand radios) that we end up using for around the camp, and in one of the HUMMERs, for around town.
"The town is basically set up as a 4-way intersection of RT 45, and RT 15. We maintain LPs N,S,E, and W of the town. These are all connected by field telephones. They work just enough to justify keeping them, not much more though."
Wu smiled. "This isn't fair! I know alot more about you than you do about me. Your team's files were sent along over our Net. And you know alot more about radios and shit than I do. So I just wanna say, I'm here to learn, no hard feelings on my part. I'm really just kinda floundering around in this job anyway."
"Have no fear, I'll make you a real sig in no time...", Robbo grinned and continued "but first where do I get a shower round here?????"
Mike stopped for a second and noticed just how dirty and smelly Robbo was, and pointed him in the direction of the showers.
01 MAY 03 / 1115 hours
Some 30 minutes later, Robbo returned with his dirty coveralls soaking wet, and wearing a cleanish pair of shorts, with a towel round his neck, looking much happier for the chance to clean up. With his boots flopping loose on his feet, and the SA58 slung casually over one shoulder, all the tension from the long trip from the Pitt had flowed away with the grime and cam cream.
He re-entered the commo tent, and looked at it, as if for the first time. He frowned. ~This will never do... Where to start?~
He turned to Mike and said "you know the Q SGT, right?"
Mike turned from the set, and replied, with a puzzled look on his face "yeah, we're good friends, why?"
"welllll... this place need to be rearranged if we're to get some real work done. Firstly, we need either an extension to this tent, or a small tent for us to live in. This place right now has enough room to swing a cat, but only if it a very placid cat, and didn't mind getting its head hit a few times. Besides, we're going to have to train some dumb grunts how to use this stuff, so that we can do some work that actually needs our talents. So we will need some space of our own."
Robbo grinned suddenly, and asked Wu "You think I should ask the Colonel about any of this?"
"Nahh, he'd just want us to get it done, fast."
Apparently, from this conversation, and Stryfe having some records on you, Robbo gets the idea that some info was passed from the 1/110th to the 3/103rd while you were in transit. None of the equipment here has that kind of range, so it must've been thru a network.
"I've got a 77 set in my pack, but its out of batteries, you seem to be an electronics whiz, so perhaps we can rig up an external power source for it."
"Yeah, I think we can get it working."
02 MAY 03 / 0500
The SGT checked his watch for perhaps the 30th time in the last half hour. He knew what had to be done. No sense in risking 20-odd people for 5 people. And he had his orders.
With a grim look in his eyes, he bellowed, "OK girls, mount up. We're going back to the Camp..."
He pointed to a few men, and directed them to scout ahead on foot. By 0630 the group had arrived back in Lewisburg, without the Recon party. Their fate is unknown.
Royce went right to the HQ Tent after entering the camp. The others saw to the horses, cleaned up their equipment, and nearly to a man, crashed in one of the PTN's tents.
02 MAY 03 / 0700
(after the routine BS...)
"...1ST PTN returned early this morning from a patrol. They managed to net 2. At this point their identities are being verified. Well done, 1ST PTN."
"I'm pleased to see that CPT Novak has set up the hospital. Everyone in camp will now be required to submit to mandatory physical examinations. It's really for the good of the unit. Thank you for your cooperation, everyone. I will soon be assigning 5 people from 5th PTN to assist him. I'm assigning the Medical HUMVEE to you, Dr., until further notice."
"LT Jackson will begin organizing all scrounging/foraging operations. Likewise, I will soon be assigning 5 people from 5th PTN to assist him. LT Jackson, please keep me informed as to your efforts, including times, locations, etc. I'm assigning your own cycle, LT, and a Chevy Blazer to you, until further notice."
Does anyone have any announcements?
"OK. 1ST and 2ND PTNs are off duty until 1600. 3RD PTN has Garrison Duty. 4TH PTN has the red-eye shift 0001--0800 tomorrow. 5TH PTN will be busy with various duties from 0800-1800."
"That is all. Dismissed."
[GM] The following staffing changes were posted following the 0800 Assembly,
01 MAY 03 / 0900
All personnel are to note staffing changes in 5th Platoon, effective immediately.
CPT Tyler will continue as unit CO/Security Officer. SGT Berger will will continue as unit NCO/BTN Quartermaster.
CPT (DR) Novak will report to CPT Tyler, and will command the Medical Section. Those assigned to the section include:
CPT Jason Panoke (Paramedic) (on an "as available" status)
SPC Tina Yates (LPN)
PVT Sam "Sampson" Saunders, medic
PVT Mike "Shoes" Gucci, orderly
PVT Eli "Cruiser" Shope, driver
MR John "Dirty John" Reynolds, orderly
The Medical Section will retain the use of the Medical HUMVEE, unless it is needed elsewhere.
LT2 Will Jackson will command the Maintenance Section. SPC Jack Booker will be the unit NCO.
PVT Pete Slade, Machinist / Mechanic (currently under arrest. held in barn...)
MS Brooke Whittaker, Civil/Construction Engineer
MR Elam Stoltzfus, carpenter
MR Aaron Nye, blacksmith
MR Ted "Teddy Bear" Willis, jack-of-all-trades
MR Frank "Frankie-boy" Gianuzzi, jack-of-all-trades
CPT Jason Panoke(gunsmith certificate) (on an "as-available" status -- he already wears 3 hats!)
CPL Damian Robinson(gunsmith certificate) (on an "as-available" status -- he already wears 2 hats!)
SGT Jack Berger(degrees in Chemistry and Education) (on an "as-available" status -- he already wears 3 hats!)
Please respect the fact that several individuals in the BTN cover more than one full time job. They might not be available immediately. Ask them or their CO as to their availablity.
That is all.
LT COL NATHAN A STRYFE, USARMY
CO , 3/103rd ARMORED PAARNG
02 MAY 03 / 1030
A new face is seen around the camp. So far he's mostly hung out at the Commo Tent. And is that an Aussie accent? Hmm...
02 MAY 03 / 0420
North of Northumberland
Sherman and Hannah had been picked up by the patrol. They were not mistreated, nor did they seem in any immediate danger, but nothing was ever certain anymore. He faded in and out of sleep, only to be awakened by the sound of gunfire.
Soon, he heard another distinctive sound, that of the Scot. He was bragging up the exploits of two of his men, "MacCain, and Cunning'um". Apparently both of them were involved in the ambush that had saved the group.
The group continued north for some time, and then west. About this time, Sherman gave in to his limitations and fell into a deep sleep...
He woke up shortly as the horse clomped over some sort of bridge.
And he woke up again when a kerosense lamp was shined in his face. A voice yelled at him from about 6" away.
"What's yer name?"...
Sherman was confused, tired, and suprised. And maybe abit fearful, after the ordeal of the past month or so... Without thinking, or at this point, maybe caring, he blurted out.
"Sherman, John Sherman..."
The light was held away from his face, and a large black man, in black fatigues restrained John with a large black hand.
[big Black man]
"Good, John. Welcome. Now tell me, what are you doing in Central PA...."
Raising his arm to shield his eyes from the light. Sherman curses himself under his breath. Falling for the oldest trick in the book just like some kind of brand new rookie. Now they know who I am. Waiting a few seconds to answer so he can get his thoughts together.
"We were just passing through. Now where is Hannah, who are you and where am I?"
Sherman looked around his surroundings and at his mysterious new interrogator.
"Don't you eyeball me, punk. I tear your eyes out, if you do it again. Just passing through, huh? What a load of crap! All that military hardware, and clothes. I suppose you just found them, right? Well, I don't believe a word of this." He looked at a handful of papers.
"I'll tell you where you are, MR. You're in deep shit, and you won't be coming out clean, not outta this one..."
"Hannah? You have the hots for her? I'll be seeing her later, in private..." He laughed a lecherous laugh to himself.
"John Sherman, huh... How's it feel for a wanted man like yourself to be CAUGHT!?!?"
Sherman got an idea that his interrogator was tired. The conversation was short, and the man appeared to want to be elsewhere, not grilling some sick, half-starved guy, no matter what he had done...
Taking the man's abuse calmly until that bit about 'having the hots for Hannah'. Sherman defensively retorts "I do not." As the interrogator continues about John being a wanted man and seeing Hannah later in private.... Sherman snaps. Normally one to hide his emotions, his eyes grow wide and his voice is full of hate. "You sonofa..." Sherman lunges at the man. "You goddam marauder scum, you touch her and I'll kill you...!"
Seemingly satisfied, the large black man smiled, turned on his heel, and left.